Nancy’s life was undeniably rife with despair and disappointment. It was enough that she was denied the all important connection with her true father, not to mention my brother, sister, and I, her step siblings from the same dad. She also had to endure humiliating pain and suffering at the hands of a cruel mother, whose heartlessness is well documented in the pages of this blog. As Nancy wrote:
I felt like a weed in somebody else’s garden.
I did my best to make myself according to need. Attractive, obedient, useful, invisible, entertaining or desirable, so I would not be destroyed. I didn’t know why I existed, only to be tossed aside. It seemed an odd waste, you know, create something that wasn’t necessary. I spent a lot of time looking for my reason to be.
I started this blog in awe of the half-sister I never met, in large part because while I knew she lived a troubled existence, she always managed to ignite sparks of humor, humility, imagination and appreciation amidst the despair and depression that arose out of her childhood. It was an admirable accomplishment, in my mind at least.
Maybe a life of abuse made her more sensitive? I believe this is possible. Nancy saw life’s silver linings, and described them with poetic flourish.
What if ragged edges were sensory organs? The more disheveled our borders, the better we would understand each other.
I wasn’t a politically or economically-minded person, but I knew the tortures of the human soul.
Some very spiritual things happened to me because of the unholy alliances between other people [our dad and her mom?] . I wonder of there’s some trajectory set in motion at the moment of conception.
When you have no protection from the rain, you learn to love being wet.
I truly admire Nancy’s perspective on her own life. If everyone who’s spirit was shattered and broken could see the broken pieces “float together,” depression might be cured!
What a convoluted picture comes from the pieces of my life. I wanted them all to fit, like poetry, even though their shapes were so oddly formed. Someone must have shaken this box like crazy, before the pieces were poured out. I find it oddly satisfying not to struggle to form a bond, but to watch as things just seem to float together, ragged edges and all.
It’s something we’re all given. The ultimate game. Here. Here’s a life. Each of you gets one. It’s your playing piece. All that you are is all that you have.
Unconditional love is public domain. It’s a ceremony that needs no name. When personal becomes universal, it’s usually not an accident.
I know as little about how dad and Arlene (Nancy’s mom) met, as I do about how Nancy and Jimi Hendrix met. Nancy met Jimi, I believe, through Mike. In many ways though, it just doesn’t matter. Entering this story in the middle, betwixt and between, allows me to fudge the ending, such as it was.
We were told by a neighbor in her building in New York that Nancy died from an allergic reaction to her pet bird. But who really knows. So much of our lives, so much truth of our lives, dies silently with us. It is what it is.
If you can be born out of no love, how much significance can you place on how you die? And all along, in the middle, the mystery of love might grab you and make you care, and then you think differently. You start to think that things matter.
Trust and squander do a very precious and precarious dance together.
A child who has had very little love can bleed out from one betrayal.
Nancy was financially “threadbare” when she died. As I’ve written earlier in this blog, since no one came forward to identify her as family (we tried, but we were too late, and unsuccessful, and her late husband never even tried), the City of New York emptied her apartment and dumped, or did whatever it does with a pauper’s belongings, and that was that. The only thing left behind, thankfully salvaged by a neighbor, was a stack of handwritten notes and memoirs that are now the basis of this blog. Reminder: Nancy’s own words are in bold italics, and in purple. The rest are mine.
Wishing and hoping and planning and dreaming are the foreplay of achievement. But as you get poorer, the walls seem to get thinner. The buffer between you and the outside world gets threadbare. The things other people can make you do, like wait and take abuse, increases. The red tape gets stupider. The tests become easier, but more degrading.
Before we crossed the street I thought this thought, as if a paper were slipped into a slot in my head: If one doesn’t have 360 degrees of space around her, she could not be reached if she were called. The true nature of her existence could not be felt. And the blossoming of her life could not take place.
Nancy had to create for herself the space she needed to survive and thrive. Clearly no one in her life was willing or able to give her that space. We may never know precisely if Jimi an exception, but that seems quite possible, based on what we’ve learned about the mutual affection in their relationship. I only hope that Nancy has 360 degrees of space around her now. I trust that she does.